Hamilton wins but Rosberg closes on title in Brazil

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton won an intense Brazilian Grand Prix amid repeated delays due to rain and crashes.

However team mate Nico Rosberg took a third consecutive second place which ensures he will go into the final race as the favourite to clinch the championship.

Brazilian Grand Prix in pictures
Max Verstappen got ahead of Rosberg early in the race but slipped back into the back after pitting for intermediate tyres shortly before the rain intensified. The Red Bull driver gave a virtuoso performance as he cut his way through the pack to claim the final podium place.

That denied Sergio Perez his third podium finish of the season. He claimed fourth ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who lost time early in the race with a spin.

He at least fared better than team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed out heavily during an early restart. This was followed by the first of two stoppages while water levels rose and fell.

Carlos Sainz Jnr took sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

But ninth place for Felipe Nasr could prove vital for Sauber, as it lifts them ahead of Manor into tenth place in the constructors’ championship.

The final points went to Fernando Alonso, who spun after the last restart.

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Hamilton wins but Rosberg closes on title in Brazil”

  1. Some people may criticize his careful approach today but I think he showed maturity. Rain is not a strong asset for him but nonetheless he kept his head cool. A bit lucky with Red Bull strategy but in the end it went according to plan and he did not crack under pressure. A good management is all he need to bag the championship and that’s exactly what he is doing; things are looking good!

    1. Obviously talking about Rosberg!

    2. Nico did what he had to do but I don’t think he was extra cautious.

      1. 3rd second place needed out of 4 has now been ticked off.

      2. I think He clearly was, way outside of the kerbs, extra-wide angles all the times.
        This race was just about survival for Rosberg.

    3. “careful approach”? I’ll have whatever you are having!

      1. @kbdavies same for me! I didn’t get your comment about him being “shameful”. Care to develop?

    4. You are correct. A lot of fingers seem to point at Rosberg for playing it safe, and I don’t get that at all. It would be silly to go in full attack mode to win the race in those conditions, with that much at stake. Some even blaming him for sleeping at the restarts, when he was clearly falling back to gain visibility. He was doing the best with what he had to day, and all he needs now is 3rd, if Ham gets the win, and he will be Champion. Exciting last race!

    5. Agreed. He knew he just had to get second, and especially after Verstappen pitted again for wets, he was clearly being more cautious, just bringing the car home. He says he’s taking it race by race, but since it was found he would win if he came 2nd every race he’s clearly been playing the long game, not taking any risks, conserving his engines to avoid penalties for changing, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Especially here where the slightest mistake, running slightly on the kerbs or the white line, could fling you into the wall and ruin his championship, he did exactly what was required.

    6. @spoutnik
      Totally agree with you, he was extremely careful in the race, pretty much cruising around and keeping out of everyone’s way. It’s easily forgotten, with all the interruptions that took place in this three hour race, that he did show the pace to keep up with Verstappen in the opening laps by building a gap of over 3 seconds over the Dutchman between lap 8 and lap 12 (i.e. the first timespan in which racing took place).
      And when Verstappen got the better of him the next time green flags flew, all he had to do was to recalibrate his approach and defend third place by staying ahead of Pérez, which he did by lapping roughly a second faster lap after lap. And then, things got even easier with Red Bull’s wrong strategic call to the pits.

      I think he really played it safe (with the esception of a brief adventure on lap 44), thus maximising his return on investment.

  2. The title race looks over barring any mechanical incidents for Nico as Mercedes are still way too far ahead of anyone else in the dry for them to impact. I feel like Lewis has sort of comes to terms with not winning his 4th WDC this season and has instead switched his focus to his legacy. His pole count, race wins count and number of tracks won count are legendary already. But imagine if Bernie kept double points…

    1. I don’t think Lewis is doing it for stats only, he’s doing what he has to do: score poles and win races, it’s the only want to keep has hopes alive.

      Keeping Nico off the podium in Abu Dhabi in that Mercedes is asking a lot, but it’s far from impossible.

      1. From a title perspective Lewis should be a little down but he was chuffed because he ticked Brazil off his list. I feel like this season in general he’s much more aware of where he stands in history because that’s what he’s doing every race he wins now, setting a marker that other drivers will be aiming at for years to come.

        Who is going to keep Nico off that podium in terms of race pace?

        1. @wrighty88 Lewis has won at every venue except Baku now, right?

          1. I don’t think he has ever won the European GP no matter what circuit it’s been at. I think the others he’s raced at but not won has been the French, Korean and Indian. I think their might be another one and I’m sure someone will know. Either way that’s impressive and consistent.

          2. Yeah, I was obviously referring to ‘current’ tracks.

    2. @wrighty88 Lewis really deserves this championship more than Nico… I’m not saying that Nico doesn’t deserve one for his career performance but this year Lewis has been absolutely amazing. With Max charging today, remember he was the only one that held him off…

  3. I hope Verstappen never be in dominant car. It will be great loss to miss his overtake.

    1. Well, if they keep up the tyre switching as today, it won’t matter @ruliemaulana!

    2. @ruliemaulana
      Dominant car + good strategy = borefest
      Dominant car + poor strategy = great races

  4. My man Lewis flawless today, great drive champ!

  5. Abu Dhabi will be tense but it could’ve been even better if Red Bull did not decide to try to undercut Mercedes pitting Max…

    1. Yep @jcost great pity! I think a tense Abu Dhabi is a bit much to hope for tho. Today was the chance, really.

  6. If there was one race where Red Bull could have splitted the two mercedes, it was the one. They have blown it again. Verstappen probably had 2nd in the bag had he not pitted for inters. Ricciardo would have probably had a chance against Nico but I still think that Nico had 3rd place guaranteed to him regardless of what. Mercedes this year have had so much luck with the opponents’ strategy mistakes. Let’s look at them so far:

    Australia: Ferrari made the wrong decision for the set of tyres for Vettel during the red flag. Result: Cost Seb a possible win. Rosberg and Hamilton 1-2.
    Canada: Ferrari again made the wrong decision during the VSC, pitting Vettel. Result: Hamilton winning and Seb losing a possible win.
    Monaco: RB did the silliest mistake in not being prepared to pit Ricciardo. Result: Cost Ricciardo a win and gave a Hamilton a win.
    USA: VSC caused by Verstappen allowed Nico to get a free pit stop and avoid joining behind Ricciardo. Result: Cost Ricciardo a possible 2nd place and gave Nico 2nd place.
    Brazil: Both RBs pitteed for intermediates but then the track got wetter. Result: Cost Max 2nd place and Ricciardo a possible podium and gave Rosberg 2nd place.

    1. Well remembered @krichelle.

    2. There’s been some odd calls this year which have played out Mercedes’ way. Of course, to make the most out of them you have to be in position to do so, which is more or less why Rosberg’s had so much success. He’s been quietly getting on with it while others made mistakes or had technical problems.

  7. Lewis was amazing today – many may not realize this but with Max charging and destroying just about everyone, only Lewis held him off and was building a margin on him…

    1. Spot on @freelittlebirds

      I thought Max’s drive was hugely entertaining, and really enjoyed watching it. Having said that, when Max was behind Lewis on the same tyres in equal conditions, Lewis just drove away from him. I thought Lewis’s drive appeared undramatic but was pure class. Without the various stoppages and safety cars, he would have been a minute ahead of Rosberg in equal cars, astonishing.

      So it looks like Rosberg can cruise to his WDC in two weeks, and fair enough really, he made the most of Hamilton’s poor luck this season and also put in some very impressive drives of his own. However, I think still few will consider him in Hamilton’s class.

      1. I am not sure if he was cruising today, but if he wasn’t… He’d better try something new in the wet because Lewis vs him in the wet seems a one-sided battle. I am somehow stunned to believe how Lewis most of the time is nearly 0.5 seconds than him… I am guessing it was down to setup because Rosberg was quicker in the speed traps yesterday in quali..

  8. This is more for tomorrow’s stats article, but does anyone know the last time a team did a full race distance with both cars without pitting either of them (not including red flag of course)?

    1. I think Button in 2010 did almost the entire race at Abu Dhabi without pitting (doing so at the start of the last lap to furfil the obligation). Might be mistaken, though.

  9. Force India have finally sealed 4th place in constructors championship points. May have lost a nice podium.

  10. very important question but has it ever happened before that during a race, a driver used two different helmet designs? i asked crofty the same thing on his hashtag and he didnt replied but im pretty sure actually that this is the first time it has happened.

    1. He only change because the first helmet was leaking.

  11. I thought Hamilton was stellar on Raceday. He led t he race by a decent margin, and was the only driver who could not only hold, but pull away from Max this weekend.

    Rosberg was really lucky this Sunday…. as he has been throughout the season. It was pretty uninspiring to see him just hang back from Hamilton and not even try and re take that position he lost to Max.

    Even if Rosberg does take the title this year, I don’t think anyone in their right mind will ever consider him as good as Lewis. I will be supporting Hamilton in Abu Dhabi though, and I’m hoping Rosberg will at least try and show some fight for the season ender

    1. I do not think that anyone could ever say that Rosberg is as good as Hamilton, but he is closer to him than he has been on previous years when Hamilton managed to pass him on track on many occassions. This year Hamilton cannot catch Rosberg when the latter is in front.

      Based on his overall career, I believe that Rosberg does deserve to win a championship.

  12. I’ll bet you any money Rosberg starting on pole would have won this race just as comfortably. Never underestimate how much of an advantage being at the front of the field gives.

    1. Yes, but he could not have started on pole as Hamilton was simply faster. Also I think that in this particular race, it is very likely that Hamilton could have managed to pass him.

      I am not a Hamilton fan and I would prefer Rosberg to win the championship, but currently Hamilton is being phenomenal.

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